You’ve done your due diligence and planned to implement an electronic health record (EHR) system to protect your patients’ electronic medical records, but the final EHR cost is much higher than what you were originally quoted.
Though the increased costs are a concern and a headache for any medical practice and other healthcare organizations, there are often good reasons for them, including necessary add-ons such as analytics.
In this article, you’ll learn about the components of EHR implementation, how much an EHR costs, and how to set your budget accordingly.
Your EHR Implementation Plan
As you plan to implement your EHR, you likely encountered five core components during the planning process, including:
- Hardware: How you work with your EHR, including database servers and desktop computer
- EHR software: This includes the EHR application, interface modules (such as the module you need for your lab), and necessary upgrades
- Help With Implementation: This is the part of the plan where you likely worked with an EHR vendor and other consultant support, and also factored in the installation of your hardware and software, as well as workflow support and redesign
- Training: Part of the plan included needing bring your team up to speed with the new system, from doctors to office staff
- Ongoing Maintenance: After implementation, you might have noticed you’re paying ongoing maintenance fees including license agreements and IT support
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EHR Implementation Cost Breakdown
Below, you’ll find a breakdown in costs for your EHR implementation (though, depending on the needs of your practice, your final totals may look different). The table below breaks down costs for both on-premise EHR and cloud EHR options, based on costs that include upfront fees, yearly costs, and what you can expect for five-year total cost of ownership.
EHR Software Cost Breakdown
|Upfront Cost||Yearly Cost||5-Year TCO|
Differences Between On-Premise and Cloud EHRs
One of the primary benefits of EHR is the selections you have available. For example, on-premise EHRs keep all of your data stored locally, while cloud options—available in private, public, or a combination of the two—allow you to store data remotely, while remaining compliant with HIPAA and other regulatory requirements.
EHR Implementation Cost: Real-World Numbers
According to a study from Health Affairs, a multi-physician practice can expect to spend roughly $162,000 to implement an EHR system. In the first year, the same practice can expect $85,000 to go toward maintenance costs. But, again, this is a rough estimate—costs have certainly gone up with inflation.
For your practice, you’ll likely be able to cover the cost of your EHR solution within 2.5 years, and then going on to get $23,000 in net benefits per year, per full-time employee.
Additional EHR Cost Factors
Now that you have an understanding of what goes into implementing an EHR, and some of the costs you can anticipate, you should know more about the necessities that can drive up the total over what you were initially quoted.
Though there are times where you’re able to integrate your EHR software into your practice with little issue, there are other instances where you need to tailor your solution for your practice. For example, you may need to pay for additional features such as electronic prescribing and quality reporting—all to stay regulation compliant.
Additional Hardware Necessities
If you need to replace essential hardware components, such as servers, costs can soon rack up. In order to remain compliant with HIPAA and other regulations, you may also need to upgrade your encryption, firewalls, and network monitoring. Additionally, if you’re working from a cloud-based system, you may need to upgrade your Internet.
If you have any staff members that struggle to pick up your new EHR system, there’s going to be additional costs associated with further support. It’s important to bring everyone up to speed so there are fewer chances of patient records being put at risk.
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Featured Photo Credit: Irwan iwe